The Major League Baseball trade deadline is less than two weeks away. With there being no additional August period for waiver trades, the final few days of July should be even busier than in the past, with rebuilding teams shipping off key assets to teams in contention looking for one last push to the postseason.
Of the more than a dozen teams expected to be buying over the next few weeks, five are expected to be even busier than the rest. They are as follows:
The Yankees remain busy every year at the trade deadline, pulling off unexpected trades — and unexpectedly having them work out to their benefit. (Luke Voit...)
Over the course of one week last July (24th to 30th), the Yankees made six trades, acquiring Zack Britton, J.A. Happ, Lance Lynn, Voit, international bonus money, and cash. Of the 11 players they traded away, seven have made big-league appearances in 2019, but only three of them have posted even somewhat decent stats. Of the guys they acquired, Britton, Happ, and Voit remain with the team and have been valuable parts of the Yankees’ first-place season to this point — one that has been scrapped together by unforeseen players in the wake of numerous crushing injuries.
Some might say the Yankees don’t need to make any traded — they're good enough already and there’s no reason breaking apart the farm system to get a rental. And while the Yankees won't be as busy as they were last July, there will still be a few trades from Brian Cashman and Co., filling out the few struggling parts of a Yankees roster to make an essentially perfect team.
Yankees’ priorities: Trading Clint Frazier; acquiring a reliever; acquiring a fifth starter who can shift to bullpen if necessary
Of all 30 teams, the Twins have had the most surprising 2019 season out of anybody. With the best record in the AL Central and the third best in all of baseball (behind the Yankees and Dodgers), the Twins burst onto the scene this season hitting home run after home run after home run and finding themselves in a great position as the trade deadline approaches.
The Twins were also busy in 2018, making five trades in five days — but as sellers. In what seemed to be a “tear down and prepare for next season” operation, the Twins turned Lynn, Eduardo Escobar, Zach Duke, Ryan Pressly, Brian Dozier, and cash into 12 players who would help hopefully them in the long run.
The Twins need to be treated as serious contenders already, but to really bring fear to opponents down the stretch as October draws closer, the Twins will need to do some work over the next couple of weeks building on some weaker points to have a balanced club ready to do damage.
Twins’ priorities: Acquire one bigger-name reliever, acquire a fifth starter who can shift to bullpen if necessary; acquire a cheap power bat; acquire one controllable lesser-known reliever
It should be no surprise that the Dodgers are back in first place with the best record in all of baseball, and while they already have an amazing squad, it’s tough to see a scenario where the Dodgers remain silent at the deadline.
There have been several solid names linked to the Dodgers over the past few weeks, including some (such as Giants’ reliever Will Smith) from within the division. Looking at the Dodgers’ roster, you see a bunch of talented, young stars mixed in with a growing list of proven veterans who are in it to win. The Dodgers may not land the biggest name on the trade market, but they will be busy nonetheless, working the phones to build on an already dominant roster.
Having been World Series favorites since the middle of the past offseason, the Dodgers continue to hold that claim now as the dog days of summer arrive and the trade chatter heats up. As they quickly break away from their division-mates, the Dodgers have their sights set on October baseball and are ready to build up their roster so they can go deep in the postseason yet again.
Dodgers’ priorities: Acquire a depth outfielder who has solid batting stats; acquire a fifth starter; acquire a reliever; make other depth moves to solidify the bench
The Cubs go against what is expected in several ways when it comes to trading. First, they will make trades at “random times” — so not necessarily on the day of the deadline, but perhaps a week or two before, or months later. The first trade that comes to mind fitting this description? The deal that landed the Cubs then-star pitcher Jose Quintana from the White Sox nearly three weeks before the deadline in 2017. In 2018, from July 20 to July 31, they made just two trades, both for pitchers, as they acquired Cole Hamels from the Rangers (July 27) and Brandon Kintzler from the Nationals (July 31).
The Cubs are back in contention again, and have some areas they need to upgrade. They, like most teams, could benefit from pitching help. They've already done some early work in the trade market ... but they didn't land a pitcher. Rather, they traded one away (Mike Montgomery) to the Royals for catcher Martin Maldonado, who will be a third-stringer in Chicago once Willson Contreras is healthy again.
They’re one of the best teams in the NL Central, and they will continue to make questionable moves until everyone can accept that this team knows what they're doing.
Priorities: Acquire solid reliever controllable through at least 2020; acquire fifth starter who can shift to bullpen if necessary; acquire fourth outfielder
The Brewers, who are currently the biggest threat to the Cubs for the NL Central title, are back in playoff contention yet again — much thanks in part to slugger Christian Yelich, the MVP candidate who is arguably the best David Stearns acquisition yet. But Stearns won’t rest. He’ll be busy this month manning the phones as he works to build up his team into a playoff contender.
This Brewers squad can’t afford to be “the biggest threat to the Cubs,” but rather simply the team that knocks off the Cubs for the top spot in the standings. Of course, this is a tough task, especially when you look at the endless talent in Chicago. But Stearns has proven that he is one of the best executives in baseball.
While Stearns was somewhat quiet in July 2018 (acquiring Joakim Soria, Mike Moustakas, and Jonathan Schoop) and August 2018 (landing Curtis Granderson, Xavier Cedeno, and Gio Gonzalez), there is always room for improvement, and while the Brewers might not be the busiest team this month, Brewers fans are in good hands knowing that their front office will do the right things to get this team what it needs to knock off the Cubs.
Priorities: Acquire a third starter; acquire a top reliever; acquire a utility infielder; don’t destroy the farm system